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In Nov. 2021 after ten years of our evolving mission and impact, we changed our name to Gathering Ground. You may still find reference to our old name Creative New Jersey in posts created prior to Nov. 2021.

Strange Bedfellows Make Creative Partnerships

Originally posted on the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Blog.

“….mystery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” exclaims the shipwrecked Trinculo, while seeking shelter from the storm, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and the same might be said by dozens of nonprofit leaders across New Jersey who are working on our state’s rebuilding and recovery efforts.  These nonprofits are sharing their wide knowledge base and best ideas with each other and are designing cross-sector, multi-disciplined approaches to New Jersey’s recovery.  This is creativity in action and the collaborations which are taking root will surely yield an innovative bloom.  We are witnessing environmentalists, artists, and journalists brainstorming together.  We are in discussions regarding the development of wide-scale communication systems, scientific and environmental mitigation efforts, and arts’ programming that provides critical psychological healing for traumatized adults and children, among many other ideas.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be hearing news about these bold collaborations and this burgeoning statewide, multi-disciplined effort has never before occurred on such a grand scale and with such high stakes.  For all of us at Creative New Jersey, we are looking forward to working with our colleagues at Sustainable Jersey, The Citizens Campaign, Young Audiences of NJ, Monmouth Arts, WHYY, the PENN Center for Civic Engagement, in addition to dozens of other nonprofits, community organizations, and our important Long Term Recovery Group members.  We are also engaged with our state’s philanthropic leaders who are active in New Jersey’s recovery, along with members of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, and FEMA’s community planning specialists.  Followers of our blog know that our work is all about cross-sector collaboration and while this is a basic tenet of our operations, we are pushing the boundaries of our own experiences and networks in order to design community engagement programs that can truly be of service to residents and business owners affected by Sandy.  Our work in communities creates a landscape for creativity, innovation and multi-disciplined collaboration to flourish.  We believe in the power of leveraging the best of what each of us has to offer and we are committed to fostering opportunities to achieve sustainable collective impact.  Indeed, we promote the coupling of strange bedfellows!

Elizabeth Murphy is the part-time Director of Creative New Jersey.  She also currently consults with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers providing coordination of the Post-Sandy Philanthropic Response in NJ.

Creative New Jersey is dedicated to fostering creativity, innovation, and sustainability by empowering cross-sector partnerships in commerce, education, philanthropy, government, and culture in order to ensure dynamic communities and a thriving economy.

Photo Credit: The Tempest


“I was really amazed by the cross-section of people in this whole building today. I really didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t anticipating facilitating a session. I absolutely loved the energy that came out of the room and I was pretty amazed at the breath of ideas. “The fact that we come back on day two to create an action plan and walk out of here with very specific tasks is an amazing thing. It’s a way to help Asbury Park to move forward with an actionable plan.”

– Jen Souder – Consultant, Greener by Design, Founder Asbury Park African American Heritage Project & Museum (Asbury Park)